Back to the Basics

When I was four or five,

a hurricane came through

and destroyed my bedroom.

The walls came in

and the plaster melted into my lungs

as the screams from the bedroom next door

shook away the foundation, away any hope

that those now mighty giants, those four walls

could ever be home again.


When I was seven or eight,

I danced on a tidal wave

confused and broken

not quite sure the cause for celebration

yearning for some past town

the water had already destroyed

but still unknowing, still holding out

for chance, for a moment to piece together

what damage had already been done.


When I was ten or eleven,

there were no more open doors.

Every room closed in too tightly

with strangers and those worse yet

people I had come to trust, people I had come to love

with no intention of keeping me safe

but rather keeping me trapped

isolated and broken

lost in the translation of secrets and horrors

locked doors and hidden bruises.


The years of silence cut through me

until my skin fell apart like confetti.

The scars and jagged edges knew my past

by its name

cursed with the affliction of wanting control

of wanting to believe that all that had happened

could somehow leak out of me.

That perhaps just one more abrasion

might hold the peace I had been searching for.


When I was fifteen or sixteen,

the world went dark.

Choices were to be made,

lives to be saved

or, as I decided, thrown way.

Moments sewn together

blotched memories

and the birth of an addiction

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive.


When I was twenty or twenty one,

the hole in heart spread wide open

the core of it all yanked out from abuse

from abandonment

from the final blow to knock me over.

I sealed it with concrete

kept what I had inside private

and flaunted a harder exterior

Now I’d be impenetrable.

Now I’d be safe.


And the silence returned to haunt me

Until the rain finally came over me

and drowned me in the memories of those cherished few

the moments my heart raced so fast my body shook

when my hands shook just at thought of a touch

when I held my dreams, even for that short second, on my fingertips

balancing the amazing display for everything I bled for…

these moments somehow forgotten

the others burned eternally


And suddenly, an earthquake shook me out

clearing out the past and making way

for a minute, a small group of seconds

of clarity:


I’ve held onto my darkest moments so tightly

the residue of my resentment has left ashes

embedded deeply into my fingerprints.


It’s time to step back, return to the basics:

Open fists, release, and wash hands daily.


One day my hands will be clean.

Some day.

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